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Ecclesiastes 4American Standard Version (ASV)

Then I returned and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and, behold, the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. Wherefore I praised the dead that have been long dead more than the living that are yet alive; yea, [a]better than them both did I esteem him that hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun. Then I saw all labor and every [b]skilful work, that [c]for this a man is envied of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh. Better is a handful, [d]with quietness, than two handfuls [e]with labor and striving after wind. Then I returned and saw vanity under the sun. There is one that is alone, and he hath not a second; yea, he hath neither son nor brother; yet is there no end of all his labor, neither are his eyes satisfied with riches. For whom then, saith he, do I labor, and deprive my soul of good? This also is vanity, yea, it is a sore travail. Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, and hath not another to lift him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if a man prevail against him that is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. 13 Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who knoweth not how to receive admonition any more. 14 For out of prison he came forth to be king; yea, even in his kingdom he was born poor. 15 I saw all the living that walk under the sun, that they were with the youth, the second, that stood up in his stead. 16 [f]There was no end of all the people, even of all them over whom he was: yet they that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 4:3 Or, better than they both is he that etc.
  2. Ecclesiastes 4:4 Or, successful
  3. Ecclesiastes 4:4 Or, it cometh of a man’s rivalry with his neighbor
  4. Ecclesiastes 4:6 Or, of
  5. Ecclesiastes 4:6 Or, of
  6. Ecclesiastes 4:16 Or, There is no end, in the mind of all the people, to all that hath been before them; they also etc.
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